This is Washington DC, so the first question you usually get upon meeting new people is “So, what do you do?” When I say I’m a puppeteer, two words are frequently heard: “Really?” and “Why?” A few weeks ago, performing the Personal Puppet Show at Fenton Street Market, a gentleman who sat down to see the show asked me afterward “What was the point of that?” At the time, I responded “To get you to smile–hey, look, it worked!” but I’ve continued to think about his question, as it’s one that I think many people seem to have about puppets and art in general.
Does art have to have a point? Can art exist on its own, free of any agenda or intention? Is that even possible? I wonder, because it seems that so much content created nowadays (digital and otherwise) is meant to make us THINK. Entertainment for children includes Important Information To Know and newspapers and websites abound with infographics and charts and statistics which will help you better understand the world around you. Not to say that any of this is bad. But sometimes, I think it’s important that art gives us a little break from all that. A space to smile, and let your mind wander. That, for me anyway, is the point.